If you really know your American history (and/or have ever read the book or seen the PBS documentary Cadillac Desert) you understand full well that settlement of the West and water issues are inextricably bound particularly in desert areas like Phoenix.
The fact is that without water, there would be no Phoenix AZ real estate – nor the city of Phoenix proper, for that matter. Fortunately, the Gila River is nearby, as well as a number of creeks and reservoirs. Over 1300 years ago, these enabled the Hohokam People to grow crops on the exceptionally fertile land. Almost a century before the time of King Charlemagne, the Hohokam created a highly developed civilization in the Valley of the Sun that endured for seven centuries. Their systems of irrigation canals formed the basis of the modern metro area’s water systems today.
Those of you planning to invest in Phoenix real estate or settle down in the area will do well to remember however that Maricopa County is a desert. Water is a precious resource, and in order to maintain the quality of life we enjoy in this area, it is important to practice water conservation.
Many Phoenix homes are landscaped using the native vegetation within attractively designed rock gardens. While a home with a traditional lawn may appear to have greater value, the cost – both financially and ecologically – of maintaining a lawn will be high and not a particularly wise use of resources.
It’s also popular to have private swimming pools in climates such as we have here in the Phoenix area. Aside from tremendous drain on local water resources, your Phoenix real estate agent will advise you that a swimming pool, while lifting your property’s value, represents a considerable investment in terms of maintenance and a potential liability as well. The possibility of someone being injured or drowned in your swimming pool is something that home insurers take into consideration when determining risk and potential liability.
In general, when planning to settle down in Maricopa County, it’s good to consider living in harmony with the environment rather than attempting to adapt it to your own tastes. Choose a home with environmentally-friendly, less water intensive landscaping. Make sure your home has low-flow toilets and shower heads – then learn all you can about water conservation. The Arizona Department of Water Resources at azwater is a good place to start learning about the latter topic.